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The Amateur (1981)

5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 621 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 2 critic

A researcher for the CIA who convinces his superiors to send him to the eastern bloc in order to avenge the murder of his wife by enemy agents discovers a web of deception underneath his ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Charles Heller
...
Professor Lakos
...
Elisabeth
Arthur Hill ...
Brewer
...
Schraeger
...
Rutledge
...
Molton
...
...
Anderson
Miguel Fernandes ...
Botaro
Jan Tríska ...
Rodzenko
Graham Jarvis ...
Porter
Jacques Godin ...
Argus
Chapelle Jaffe ...
Gretchen
...
Sarah
Edit

Storyline

A researcher for the CIA who convinces his superiors to send him to the eastern bloc in order to avenge the murder of his wife by enemy agents discovers a web of deception underneath his wife's death. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

At 29, Charles Heller was a mathematician without equal. At the CIA, he was a computer expert without peer. But when terrorists murdered the most important woman in his life, he became an assassin without experience. To avenge her death, the CIA trained him, briefed him, armed him, and then...they abandoned him. The first 11 minutes will absolutely shock you. The last 11 minutes will rivet you to your seat. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 February 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'homme de Prague  »

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 10,600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's storyline is similar to Three Days of the Condor (1975). See more »

Quotes

Kaplan: I lost my first wife, my first family. Two beautiful little girls. In the war, in the camps. I thought for a long time the loss would kill me but, I survived.
Charles Heller: How?
Kaplan: By creating a ritual to keep me alive. To survive the death of people close to you, you need a ritual. A ritual for revenge is what I made. I thought about it and planned it every waking moment. When I got out I spent three years tracking down the doctor who sent them to the camps.
Charles Heller: Did you fing him?
Kaplan: I found him, yes.
Charles Heller: What did... what...
[...]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
John Savage seeks revenge for the terrorist killing of his girl friend
7 August 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Amateur" comes under the heading of spy movie. John Savage works for the CIA in cryptology. He's not a field man or spy. His girl friend is assassinated in cold blood as a hostage overseas. He asks the CIA director, Arthur Hill, for the terrorists involved to be killed, but gets rebuffed. He then embarks on a scheme to get revenge himself, with the help of his girl friend's father, Jan Rubes, a Holocaust survivor. This involves threatening Hill with the release of sensitive CIA documents. Hill plays for time by agreeing and providing field training to Savage, but in the mean time he's thoroughly searching for the documents that Savage has hidden away. Ed Lauter plays Savage's trainer and control in the field. He helps insert him into Czechoslovakia. When Hill finds the documents, he's late because Savage is already inside Czechoslovakia. Lauter attempts to kill him, and this puzzles the head of the Czechs, Christopher Plummer, who knows there has been a border violation and who is hunting for Savage. Savage gets help from a tangential CIA contact, Marthe Keller, but the real CIA agents are looking to kill Savage.

So now we have both the CIA agents and Plummer looking for Savage independently, and Plummer trying to figure out why they're after him. And we have Savage hunting down the terrorists. There's lots of plot in this story, all told in nice settings. The picture has some good set pieces. They help a lot.

As other reviewers have noted, the pace is sometimes slow or even plodding. This occurs more in the first half than the second half, but parts of the second half are not immune. And there are definitely plot holes or unrealistic liberties being taken in the story. It is no masterpiece. The director kept the acting fairly low-key. The script at times was wordy and responsible for the pace, but the director also didn't go out of his way to milk the scenes as well as he might of. Still, this picture is not a bomb. The IMDb rating of between 5 and 6 is about right, in my opinion.

I'd mention that when Plummer first comes on screen, he looks just like Max von Sydow! I think this was intentional, an inside joke. Sydow appeared in several excellent spy movies. Like Sydow, Plummer is a great actor too.


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